By Carly Shuler, Joan Ganz Cooney Center
In 2007, when the iPhone made its debut, there was little doubt that it would revolutionize the mobile phone industry. But at the time, few imagined that it would spawn a multibillion-dollar market for mobile applications, and fewer imagined that this market might become a significant one for children.
Less than five years later, more than a quarter of all parents have downloaded apps for their children to use, according to a Common Sense Media study. Babies have achieved virtual celebrity for mistaking a magazine for a broken iPad, children now learn to "swipe" before they can tie their shoes, and tweens and teens coveted the iPad over any other gift this holiday season.
Today's children will benefit if apps become an important force for learning and discovery. This report, iLearn II: An Analysis of the Education Category on Apple's App Store, documents the results of an analysis of the Education category of Apple's App Store, with the goal of understanding the market dynamics, areas of innovation, and emerging opportunities within the market for apps labeled as education. Using the original iLearn study as a benchmark for change, this updated report examines a recent sample of top-selling apps for both the iPad and the iPhone.
1. Apps are an important and growing medium for providing educational content to children, both in terms of their availability and popularity.
- Over 80% of the top selling paid apps in the Education category of the iTunes Store target children.
- In 2009, almost half (47%) of the top selling apps targeted preschool or elementary aged children. That number has increased to almost three-‐quarters (72%).
- The percentage of apps for children has risen in every age category, accompanied by a decrease in apps for adults.
2. Early learning apps for toddler/preschool are particularly prominent. Developers should consider potential saturation of this market.
- Apps for toddlers/preschoolers are the most popular age category (58%), and experienced the greatest growth (23%).
- General early learning is the most popular subject (47%), and there are signiicantly more general early learning apps than the second most popular subject (math, 13%).
3. Developers should not default to the lowest price point and should consider a fair price‐value proposition. The average price of children’s apps has risen by over $1, but they are still less expensive than those targeting adults.